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Santa Maria della Vittoria - Description
This panorama taken from inside Santa Maria della Vittoria shows the high altar and detail from the two side chapels near the front of the church. One of the main reasons people visit Santa Maria della Vittoria is to see The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel to the left of the altar.
Santa Maria della Vittoria was originally going to be dedicated to St. Paul. However, in 1602 a Carmelite priest went to war with the imperial army carrying a picture of the Nativity around his neck. Following a successful battle at the White Mountain in Prague, the image made it's way back to Rome, first to Santa Maria Maggiore. From there it was taken by procession to the unfinished S Paolo, which was subsequently dedicated to Mary because of the picture. The image had no power over the fire that swept through the church in 1833 in which it was destroyed.
The interior of the S Maria della Vittoria is considered to be one of the finest examples of Baroque decoration in Rome, and is heavily decorated in sumptuous marble. The church istself is actually quite small, with three interconnecting side chapels framed by huge corinthian pilasters with gilded capitals.
The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini is based on passages from the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila where she describes a vivid vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden shaft, causing her both immense joy and pain. The posture and flowing robes deviate from classical restraints of the time resulting in a more passionate and emotional statue. The Ecstasy of St Teresa and S Maria della Vittoria have been popularized by Dan Brown in Angels and Demons. Classes of students often visit the church to draw parts of the interior, as seen in this panoramic image.
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Via XX Settembre, 17
Via Veneto area